Two hundred years ago China's imperial rulers sensed a threat to a past-oriented society in the dynamism of the West and tried to frustrate foreign entry.
Today, one cannot escape the impression that if only it were not for world pressures Maoist China like that of the Ming and Manchus would be happier if it could withdraw into the broad isolation of the Middle Kingdom.
Just one year after China's long-closed doors reopened to the West in 1971, Barbara Tuchman journeyed through its cities and countryside drawing the human face on this inscrutable giant.
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Excellent historical account